Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
King James Version
“God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“Gift” – Something bestowed voluntarily and without compensation. An endowment.
“The King of glory sends His Son,
To make His entrance on this earth;
Behold the midnight bright as noon,
And heavenly hosts declare His birth!
About the young Redeemer’s head,
What wonders, and what glories meet!
An unknown star arose, and led
The eastern sages to His feet.
Simeon and Anna both conspire
The infant Saviour to proclaim
Inward they felt the sacred fire,
And blessed the babe, and owned His name.
Let pagan hordes blaspheme aloud,
And treat the Holy Child with scorn;
Our souls adore the eternal God
Who condescended to be born.”
“To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult every year.”
E. B. White
Christmastime is a season for gift giving and I hope you received what you wanted this Christmas. For many individuals around the world the tradition of giving presents wrapped in festive paper and tied with pretty bows has become more than a custom or a tradition – it’s a production. Department stores, Shopping Malls, and even catalogs offer services especially designed to “wrap” your gifts making them look professional and presentable.
But as we look at the remnants of packages we gave and received this year, we would do ourselves well to reflect on the greatest gift Heaven ever bestowed on earth – the gift of Jesus, the Christ.
This gift wasn’t packaged in some fancy gold-laced paper or cloth. This little gift was wrapped in peasant swaddling cloth. This gift wasn’t laid under a tree decorated with expensively painted balls and flickering with dozens of glowing lights. This gift was laid in a manger – a feeding bin for cattle and sheep. This gift wasn’t surrounded by family dressed in holiday finery. No, this gift fell asleep surrounded by strangers.
But when this gift was opened – a heart of love was discovered that came from Heaven and embraced every person born on planet earth.
Among the left over boxes and torn paper – I pray we will remember the greatest gift we have ever received – the gift of Heaven’s unconditional, unlimited love as seen in the life of Jesus.
As we reflect on the gift that has been given to us, may the words of W. Dyer inspire us to say, “Thank You, for The Gift!”
“Christ uncrowned Himself to crown us, and put off His robes to put on our rags, and came down from Heaven to keep us out of hell. He fasted 40 days that He might feast us to all eternity; He came from Heaven to earth that He might send us from earth to Heaven.”
What a gift! What a Saviour! What a Redeemer! What a Friend! “Thank You, Lord and Master of my life.”
“How can God stoop lower than to come and dwell with a poor humble soul? Which is more than if He had said, such a one should dwell with Him; for a beggar to live at court is not so much as the king to dwell with him in his cottage.”
In the Bleak Midwinter
“In the bleak midwinter, frosty
wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Angels and archangels may
have gathered there,
Cherubim and Seraphim thronged the air;
But only His mother in her
Worshiped the Beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him-
Give my heart.”
“In a way winter is the real spring, the time when the inner things happen, the resurge of nature.”
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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